Resourcing Jesus Followers to Coach from No Faith to New Faith to Multiplying Faith

 One Voice

One heart, one voice, one mind
One vision of a new lifetime
Song "Power of One"

On behalf of the lost...and the newly found.

Below you will find editorial commentary from the author of the New Christian Life materials and others.

 Watch Jesus Disciple!


We are continuing to follow Jesus around with our imaginary video camera, watching and pondering as we watch Jesus recruit, coach, and commission His disciples. Most of the scenes are scripted by the Gospel writer Mark, who learned the stories later while traveling with and assisting the apostle Peter. Be asking how Jesus’ example applies to us today! Following is the seventh phase of our journey.


PART VII. OBSERVATION & DISCUSSION READIES DISCIPLES FOR ACTION

Jesus continued to “go around the villages teaching” - giving the disciples opportunity to gain deeper levels of insights into His ways and means of connecting with people. Jesus knew that as long as He was the only person on earth doing what He did, God’s activity on earth would remain bottle necked to wherever He was on earth and unavailable to almost “all the nations” present and future. So He began the “boot camp” phase of the disciples’ training to launch His multiplication strategy to reach the world.

Jesus’ training methods were not supernaturally unique – they were naturally sound and effective. This should not surprise us, since He was in on the design and creation of the creatures He was now working among. The principles of Jesus’ strategy for training are common to effective training of humans worldwide and history long. It is tragic for the eternal well-being of multitudes that local churches have so often limited their learning opportunities for would-be followers of Jesus to listening to lectures and being dismissed to apply their assignments on their own. Discipling practiced by Jesus was in pattern the same as current rabbinical training, and is similar to the modern dynamic of “coaching” in that it focuses on mastering new behaviors, not just grasping new ideas.

Jesus “summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs; and He was giving them authority over the unclean spirits, and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except” basically what they could carry. (Mark 6:7) Going out in partnerships of two was a new mode of ministry for the disciples – and probably a welcome one for their first assignment to be completed without Jesus present. All they had observed and discussed so far was Jesus’ “one man” activity and teaching model. They had to learn to operate as a team without a designated leader, which was probably a relief to be able to support each other, in contrast to the challenge of being sent out separately as individuals.

Jesus did give explicit instructions in other areas to guide their preparations and their destination activities. He also gave them “authority over unclean spirits” – apparently just for the duration of their “missions trip”, since they were later unable to evict a demon from the epileptic boy. Armed with instructions and authority, they were deployed by Jesus, and “went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.” (Mark 6:12)

The disciples had to have been amazed that they were now doing what they had only seen in their lifetime done by this Jesus. I am sure they couldn’t wait to get back and tell Jesus and trade stories with the other ministry teams. Place yourself in the group during the “testimony time” reported in Scripture:  “And the apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.” The atmosphere was certainly thick with holy awe - mixed with some probable human pride that often occurs when God “uses us”.

Jesus then models His practical wisdom and sensitivity to human “combat fatigue” when He says to them, “‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.’ For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.” (Mark 6:30) The Sabbath principle is here acknowledged by the Author thereof, alongside of the spiritual work ethic that must accompany living faith. A rich rest it must have been for the inspired and perspired disciples – a time for review of and reflection on this new experience of being anointed to do by the Anointed One who had previously done all the doing!



PART VI. DOES JESUS KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING?
 
Watching Jesus in action, and having great discussions with Him about the meaning of the stories He told to the crowds – is a great learning launch for His new recruits. They were increasing so much in their understanding of genuine love for people by seeing how Jesus cared for people’s needs in ways they had never seen. The stories He told unfolded with surprise twists and turns that made them cry out for digging into their deeper meaning. They couldn’t wait to get alone with Him to get the inside “scoop”!
 
But Jesus meaning well and teaching well had seemed to be safe venues of behavior. Now their lives were in danger, and they were required to generate a new level of trust in Him who was leading them. Was this carpenter familiar enough with the big lake’s fickle moods to decide when was a good time to cross its dangerous waters? Starting out in the evening seemed to guarantee a blind venture across the lake’s treacherous surface. But this particular carpenter had been successful in His instructions for an impromptu fishing expedition after His experienced fishermen disciples had fished all night without a catch. So far, He always seemed to know what He was doing – no matter what it was He did! 
 
And so there was no hesitation when “on that day, when evening had come, He said to (His disciples), ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ …and other boats were with Him.” A crowd was following the fishing boat that held Jesus and His immediate crew of appointed disciples. Soon peril overtook the flotilla, and the disciples began to fear the worst. Were their high hopes in following Jesus about to sink with the ship? Their well being had never seemed in so much danger since they began to accompany Jesus. Did He REALLY know what He was doing?
 
In response to their cries for help, Jesus calmly calmed the violence of the winds and waves – ordering their immediate submission to the raised human hand that contained the hand that created them. Jesus then turned to the disciples and “said to them, ‘Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they became very much afraid.” Now their fear of the fury of wind and waves suddenly gave way to holy fear of One who could rise up and bring sudden peace to nature’s unrestrained attack. In wonder, they “said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’”
 
“And they came to the other side of the sea…”Then the disciples realized that what appeared to be a plan that was about to capsize, was in fact a promise that they could trust with their lives – because of Whose plan it was. Jesus’ plans communicated to His followers imply the supply of the means to carry out the plan - when they provide the required obedient behavior! Faith expressed in obedient behavior demonstrates faith that God will supply whatever is lacking for the plan to be fulfilled!


                                                                                                                                                  

PART V. JESUS BEGINS INTERACTIVE INSTRUCTION WITH HIS MINISTRY TEAM

 

Jesus fame has spread to the point of drawing people to walk north 90 miles from Judea, and south 50 miles from Sidon to hear Him teach and watch Him heal. His impact in Galilee is hitting full stride and He is constantly the center of public attention. However, He never loses sight of the internal process of completing His recruiting process and forming His inner circle ministry team of twelve. We see Him move them beyond observation learning to involve them in the mechanics of His ministry.

 

He has to stay in wide open spaces because of the crowds – a need accommodated by the Galilean seashore. There He instructs His disciples to obtain a boat – maybe one of theirs – that He can sit in off shore to avoid being mobbed by those desperate for a healing touch. (3:7)

 

After this time with the “great multitude”, it must have been difficult for Jesus and a hand picked group to escape the crowd and “go up to the mountain” for a leadership retreat. There “He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons.” (3:14-15) The atmosphere of this event must have been like a coach calling out His starting lineup before the first game of the season.

 

He apparently retained a “second string”, as we see at a later time when Jesus is “alone” and “His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him” questions. A special bond was developing between Jesus and those who were following Him to learn obedience to God. At one point He says He considers those who do the will of God to be like family to Him. (3:35) The rewards of the serious pursuers of God’s will are status as an “insider” with Jesus, and special insight into God’s truth. “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God,” while “those who are outside get everything in parables.” (4:11)

 

It became a repeated cycle in the learning process of the “insiders”. He would publicly speak to the crowds with “many such parables” – teaser stories that raised significant questions to stimulate thought without laying out immediate answers. Then “He was explaining (Greek epeluen: to issue a conclusion about a matter – see Ac 19:39; 2 P 1:20) everything privately to His own disciples.”(4:33-34)

 

Other ways of learning would occur in the discipling process – but we can see that this private discussion in response to questions was a basic ingredient in the cognitive part of Jesus’ instruction. So if we want to engage in the discipling process in our current world, we must include opportunity for questions with the guarantee to receive answers. 

 

PART IV. JESUS’ SURPRISE RECRUIT

 

“Jesus-sightings” were now the main topic of “breaking news” reports. He continues to bless the afflicted and amaze the crowds with healings, but begins to give more time to teaching. He certainly has the attention of the onlookers. (2:1) “And when He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them.”  In this setting, He is interrupted by the paralytic’s friends bringing him to Jesus through Peter’s roof. Jesus adds some insights on faith in the process of healing him. There is no record of an offering taken for roof repairs.

 

Then Jesus “…went out again by the seashore; and all the multitude were coming to Him, and He was teaching them.” The in-service training takes a surprising turn as the first six disciples - basically “good guys” by local reputation - watch in horror as Jesus invites a local organized crime leader (a chief tax collector!) to join their ministry team. “And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus (Matthew) sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he rose and followed Him.”

 

Jesus continues to model team building with this surprising invitation to disciple #7. A team needs complimenting gifts and backgrounds, and a strong measure of grace in considering candidates with potential for productive labor in their new arena of activity. Matthew would turn out to be the only other disciple, besides John, to author a Gospel narrative. His cultivated skill for mentally storing numbers is employed in recounting abundant details of Jesus’ life and ministry – including the most detailed and instructive version of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Matthew basically gives us the “amplified version” of what Mark states in very concise terms (Mark 16:15)

 

Let’s go back to Matthew’s dinner party, called to celebrate his new internship with the local prophet. He is the only new appointee who apparently had a house large enough and enough funds for a catered celebration. The downside of the event for the religious community was the guest-list! “And it came about that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax-gatherers and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him.”

 

Not surprisingly, it is Matthew’s account (9:10-13) of the dinner that tells of the religious leaders’ extreme concern about who this non-credentialed holy man was socializing with – a concern most likely shared by the insider disciples, as well. Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ interrogation defines His presence with the guests as demonstrating “compassion” – i.e. acceptance of the unacceptable, as in “friend of sinners”. And there is no record of what Jesus said to this mafia crowd. All we know is that He ate with them, an action that apparently spoke louder at that point than the words He said to them during dinner!

 

Jesus skillfully puts the knife under the fifth rib of the religious arrogant by his behavior. Joyful wonder must have gone off like fireworks in the hearts of the criminals at the party, to be so openly accepted and defended by this public religious figure. He was demonstrating what He declared at the party, that He “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And that meant the door would be open for me – and for you, as well! 8-)

 

Part III: JESUS CONTINUES TO TEACH BY EXAMPLE (i.e. FIRST PHASE OF DISCIPLING) Note: References from the Gospel of Mark, unless otherwise indicated.

 

Three out of the first four “disciples” summoned by Jesus would end up being His inner circle among the eventual twelve that composed His apostolic team. This first group had the longest time with Jesus for their training as a mobile learning community. Groups like this were often seen accompanying rabbis – although they may have generally been younger interns fresh out of synagogue school, instead of manual laborers making a mid-life career change..

 

It could have been that as young men, the four fishermen had hoped they would be invited to follow a rabbi after studying hard in their synagogue classes. Disappointment may have lurked in their hearts as they fished, recalling their desire to teach others the treasures in the Scriptures that were read and explained to them by their rabbi. As they now went along with Jesus, they were probably waiting to wake up from a dream. Their appetites for learning were certainly insatiable in the presence of this amazing and mysterious Jesus, whose invitation for them to leave all and follow Him seemed like an invitation to forsake rags to gain riches.

 

Their sense of awe was beginning to build as they saw His quiet and courteous miracle at the wedding, performed out of deference to His earthly mother. Then they listened to Him out-teach the scribes, in spite of their advanced degrees and vacillating interpretations. What really made the news was the unclean spirit that Jesus sent packing in the synagogue. Jesus follows that with the private healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. The meal she served them may have been eaten just in time to receive “the whole city gathered at the door”, bringing to Jesus “all who were ill and…demon-possessed.” He “healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons.” A very full evening, for sure!

 

But instead of sleeping in the next morning, Jesus got up “in the early morning, while it was still dark,…and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.” (See Mark 1:21-35.)

 

“Simon and his companions” tried to involve themselves in the management of Jesus’ ministry the next morning when people started coming to the house - and Jesus was missing. They “hunted for Him; and they found Him, and said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for You.’” But instead of returning for this eager crowd, Jesus started in another direction with a statement about His calling and their mission, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.” (1:38) 

 

“And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.” (1:39) Going head to head with Satan seems to be a focus here, as Jesus “preaches” the truth to dispel the darkness that prevailed over the land – and then plundered the domain of the evil one by evicting demons from their human dwellings. No healings are mentioned at this point – until a new challenge appears -  “a leper came to him…”  It is probable that the crowd around Jesus hastily backed up to make room for the leper, to avoid any possibility of direct contact with him.

 

They stared as Jesus warmly received this social outcast, who “fell on his knees before Him…saying to Him, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus certainly could have healed the man without touching him – an example the disciples would certainly have preferred for their own ministry style. But instead, Jesus was “moved with compassion…and stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.” (1:40-41) One can only imagine the gasps and celebration that followed this exchange so closely observed by all present. The disciples were certainly learning through their front-row observations of the Word become flesh!

 

This event really blew the roof off of whatever still lacked in public awareness of Jesus’ ministry. Because of the healed leper’s testimony “Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.” (1:45)

 

It would seem that this crew of leader novices would have had trouble sleeping at night, trying to process all that they were seeing. When in all of Israel’s history had such things taken place in these proportions - and with this frequency? And the venues for their occurrences were out of the way places among common people, performed by a man with no earthly credentials. Their hearts must have been close to bursting, trying to take it all in.

 

 

Part II:  DISCIPLES BEGIN LEARNING BY OBSERVING

 

Immediately after the get-acquainted encounter recorded in John 1, “There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee… Jesus…was invited, and His disciples.”(John 2:1-2) It appears that His presence “with His disciples” at the wedding was prior to the famous seashore summons. The “disciples” referred to here were still considering permanent association with Jesus. This group probably did not include James and John. Nathaniel was part of the “come and see” group that visited with Jesus where John the Baptist was baptizing – but Nathaniel did not end up as one of the twelve. He very well could have been one of the “disciples” at the wedding with Jesus.

 

In contrast to the disciples’ later roles in feeding the 4,000 and 5,000, at this point they were observers as the miracle wine was served to them by the household servants. Jesus had not as yet given His new recruits any assignments. He was allowing them time to watch Him in action. We can only imagine their amazement at the things they saw and sensed as they accompanied God in human flesh. Here they have an early “look”, watching Him turn water into wine to help the host “save face” by providing adequate food supplies for the wedding feast.

 

(John 2:12) “After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days.” Mark picks up the story line here. Apparently the fishing brothers separated from Jesus and His family members to put in some fishing time. Before arriving in Capernaum, Jesus was preaching in Galilee (1:14), and went by the Sea of Galilee (1:16f). There He gives the seashore call to Peter and Andrew to follow Him – after they had had considerable time to associate informally with Him. This was a “job offer” – a formal invitation to intern with Him for the specific goal of becoming “fishers of men”.  Certainly Peter and Andrew had told their business partners and friends about their “come and see” contact with this newly famous cousin of John the Baptist.  Jesus called Peter and Andrew first, which very likely influenced James and John to join their partners in business to become partners in mission. This may have been Jesus’ first face-to-face contact with James and John.  

 

Reunited with Peter and Andrew, and now joined by James and John (1:21), “they went into Capernaum.” Their observation experiences continue in the local synagogue as they hear Jesus give amazing teaching “as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (1:22-27) and then He casts a demon out of a tormented man. I am sure the scribes were disturbed by the negative comparison with their teaching – a rancor that would snowball until the crucifixion.

 

Next stop after the synagogue for the group was (Mark 1:29) “…the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Him about her.” The disciples were observing Jesus responding to human need, and took the initiative to inform Jesus about her condition. “He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.” (1:31) Jesus meets her need, and the group’s need of meals was also met through her immediate preparation of food. This seems to be the first recorded action on the part of the disciples toward participation in Jesus’ ministry.

 

Jesus gave them plenty of time to observe the things He did and the way He did them – before even inviting them to assist Him with His ministry activities. What a view they had, seeing things that would forever stay with them as learning experiences. 

 

Part I.  JESUS TEAM-BUILDS AS HE BEGINS HIS MINISTRY 

1. The first things described in the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry are preaching and recruiting disciples.

1:14f “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God… And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew…casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. (And) He saw James…and John… (with) their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants.”

 

Notice Jesus went to their workplace while they were busy with their livelihood, and observed them in the active disciplines of their daily lives. But notice also that this was not the first encounter he had had with some of them.

 

Remember John 1:35f: “John (the Baptist) was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ And they said to Him, ‘Rabbi,… where are You staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’ They came therefore and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day... One…was Andrew…He found first his own brother, Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’…He brought him... Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called [Peter].”

 

Here we see Jesus informally connecting with potential disciples prior to calling them to follow Him with a disciple’s commitment – which was commonly understand in the culture of the day and place.  

 

2. After some relational prelude for mutual assessment, Jesus offers the contract of a rabbi to potential interns (disciples) with a vaguely described outcome of their association with Him . “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ [Peter and Andrew] immediately left the nets and followed Him…” accepting His offer without reservation.

 

Jesus went a few yards down the sea shore and “called [James and John]; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went away to follow Him.”  Notice there were employees - in addition to family members - on the job, showing that the business was strong enough to pay additional help. Other references show that the two sets of brothers were partners in business. Note that these two sets of brothers were hard working and successful with a business strong enough to allow for hired help. They did not leave their lives out of desperation, but out of the sense of a hirer purpose and relationship to be gained by associating with Jesus at the expense of their earthly securities and reputations.

 

 

Jesus' Passion-Driven Life

Mel Gibson has "lifted up Jesus" in a world-impacting way through his movie. "The Passion of the Christ" gives us a new depth of appreciation for Jesus' physical and mental anguish that He willingly embraced for our sakes. A stunning message about how deeply He loved us - so He could continually love us and be with us on earth and for eternity.

There is a condition, however, for our relationship with Him to continue. We must allow His presence and influence to bring change to the way we live our daily lives (Luke 9:23). What He is, determines what we become. The story of His life in human flesh among real people gives us a picture of how He wants us to live our lives. Not that we are to wear robes and sandals, and walk wherever we go. What is in our hearts is what is important to Jesus. His life can be lived out in different bodies and genders and cultures and still be recognizable as coming from Him living within us. The word "passion" can be well used to describe Jesus' life, not just a word for His death.

His life was full of passion for God and passion for people. His life in us lived out will produce the same character. Passion for God is communicating and cooperating with Him with the goal of pleasing Him - and depending on His help to do so. Passion for people is to love them with love and ability received from God. A wonderful book that spells out the practical features of passion-driven lives in the twenty-first century is being studied across the nation. It is Forty-Days to a Purpose-Driven Life, by Pastor Rick Warren. My point here is that Jesus' example shows us that a purpose-driven life must also be a passion-driven life. The "Jesus life" is anything but a casual life lived out of convenience and surface feelings.

Jesus' passion in living is first shown for us when He was twelve years of age. His pre-teen appetite for the Scriptures is demonstrated by His spirited discussion and debate with the temple scholars on the family's trip to Jerusalem. Eighteen years later, Jesus comes out of His wilderness test with a focused passion to "preach the Gospel to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, (and) to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19) The Gospels are largely a travelogue of Jesus turning His passion into action. His passion in living was a powerful magnet to children, and inspired His prescription of something worse than a millstone necklace under water for anyone who would "offend one of (His) little ones"! (Matthew 18:6)

Of special note is Jesus in the outer courtyard of the Jerusalem temple - designated by God as a place for Gentiles to meet with Him. He boiled with holy rage at the atmosphere of commerce and extortion created by the priests' stooges who were overcharging foreign worshipers for pre-approved animals required for sacrifices. God had planned "a house of prayer for all the nations (Gentiles)" (emphasis added), "but you have made it a robbers' den" (Mark 11:17) Jesus' passion that day resulted in a major house cleaning! And there we are in His-story - Jesus thinking outside the Jewish box in His love for "all the nations" - then and now!

Heated interaction with His disciples forged their character and lit their fires to continue on earth what He "began to do and to teach". (Acts 1:1) Jesus' passion for pleasing and obeying His Father is demonstrated by His disciples after His departure, when they "could not stop speaking what they had seen and heard" - in spite of threats on their lives. (Acts 4:20) May that be true of us today, who have invited His presence into our lives. Can His presence truly be in us, without His passion showing through? Can we actually hide "the passion of the Christ" living in us, from the eyes of the watching world?

Let us feel His passion that continues for us today - also called compassion. If you have not entrusted your life to Him, hear Him pounding at the door of your heart - seeking heavenly friendship with you. The pounding is that of His Good Shepherd's heart for you - one of His many lost sheep He pursues to reclaim. For those of us who have Him already residing on the inside, recognize that He is "pour(ing His) love into our hearts, through the Spirit whom He has given us." (Romans 5:5)

The passion of the Christ that paid for our sins occurred with infinite proportions two thousand years ago. Jesus proclaimed on the cross that it's purpose was "accomplished" - completed, done! However, the passion of the heart of Jesus to make us His own is not over. It continues to this day - for you, for me! Please don't waste Jesus' (com)passion for you by sending Him away. Answer the door! Follow Him and love Him with ALL of your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). It is the only fitting response to His passion that "first loves us"!



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Jesus continued to “go around the villages teaching” - giving the disciples opportunity to gain deeper levels of insights into His ways and means of connecting with people. Jesus knew that as long as He was the only person on earth doing what He did, God’s activity on earth would remain bottle necked to wherever He was on earth and unavailable to almost “all the nations” present and future. So He began the “boot camp” phase of the disciples’ training to launch His multiplication strategy to reach the world.
 
Jesus’ training methods were not supernaturally unique – they were naturally sound and effective. This should not surprise us, since He was in on the design and creation of the creatures He was now working among. The principles of Jesus’ strategy for training are common to effective training of humans worldwide and history long. It is tragic for the eternal well-being of multitudes that local churches have so often limited their learning opportunities for would-be followers of Jesus to listening to lectures and being dismissed to apply their assignments on their own. Discipling practiced by Jesus was in pattern the same as current rabbinical training, and is similar to the modern dynamic of “coaching” in that it focuses on mastering new behaviors, not just grasping new ideas.
 
Jesus “summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs; and He was giving them authority over the unclean spirits, and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except” basically what they could carry. (Mark 6:7) Going out in partnerships of two was a new mode of ministry for the disciples – and probably a welcome one for their first assignment to be completed without Jesus present. All they had observed and discussed so far was Jesus’ “one man” activity and teaching model. They had to learn to operate as a team without a designated leader, which was probably a relief to be able to support each other, in contrast to the challenge of being sent out separately as individuals.
 
Jesus did give explicit instructions in other areas to guide their preparations and their destination activities. He also gave them “authority over unclean spirits” – apparently just for the duration of their “missions trip”, since they were later unable to evict a demon from the epileptic boy. Armed with instructions and authority, they were deployed by Jesus, and “went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.” (Mark 6:12)
 
The disciples had to have been amazed that they were now doing what they had only seen in their lifetime done by this Jesus. I am sure they couldn’t wait to get back and tell Jesus and trade stories with the other ministry teams. Place yourself in the group during the “testimony time” reported in Scripture: “And the apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.” The atmosphere was certainly thick with holy awe - mixed with some probable human pride that often occurs when God “uses us”.
 
Jesus then models His practical wisdom and sensitivity to human “combat fatigue” when He says to them, “‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.’ For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.” (Mark 6:30) The Sabbath principle is here acknowledged by the Author thereof, alongside of the spiritual work ethic that must accompany living faith. A rich rest it must have been for the inspired and perspired disciples – a time for review of and reflection on this new experience of being anointed to do by the Anointed One who had previously done all the doing! 


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